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How does one determine the value of an education?

I have never regretted my liberal arts education. It has provided me with a substantial level of [mental, emotional, spiritual, financial] satisfaction in life. And while I constantly trawl the depths of Amazon for new STEM toys to buy my daughter, I fully intend to push her in that direction as well. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I get rankled when I see reports like Beyond College Rankings by the Brookings Institution that seek to improve “college rankings” (which in itself is a ridiculous concept) by focusing entirely on financial gain as if the sole purpose of going to college is to become an employable adult.

JSTOR Daily recently took up this topic by bringing in Newman’s The Idea of the University [public library]:

“The liberal arts rarely teach skills that one can immediately apply in a career. Instead, they impart a ‘habit of mind … which lasts through life, of which the attributes are freedom, equitableness, calmness, moderation, and wisdom.’ Newman counsels anxious parents that a philosophical habit of mind is the best aid to professional and scientific study. A liberal arts education does not directly train you to be a lawyer, physician, or businessperson, but it prepares you to succeed in any career where you have to think, speak, write, or converse with others.”

We don’t simply need more engineers and computer scientists. We need more innovators, communicators, and wise leaders.

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